The First Clue?

David Frum points to this report from CBS’s Boston affiliate and wonders if this might be the Tsarneav brother’s testing ground:

HANOVER (CBS) – Investigators are trying to find out who is making and setting off homemade bombs near a section of Route 53.

Residents in that area have reported loud bangs and flashes of bright light.

On March 12, police found two unexploded bombs in a wooded area near Pine Street and Tower Hill Drive.

Captain Jim Gallagher says they want to get to the bottom of who is making them.

“They were simply small cardboard tubes, they are filled with what appears to be flash powder, they are sealed at the end with wax and they have a fuse inserted,” Gallagher told WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “We’re concerned they are able to get the components on the internet fairly readily and that’s what’s making it easy.”

Not a “Crock Pot Bomb,” but perhaps a means to test whether the explosives you’ve mixed will work.  For what it’s worth, Hanover, Mass. is roughly halfway between Boston and Dartmouth, Mass., where the younger Tsarneav went to school

Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. CSK says:

    In Hanover, just west of Route 53 and Pine Street and Tower Hill Drive is an area known as…Hell Swamp.

    Hell Swamp.

  2. John Burgess says:

    Could be, but as a 12-y/o I was making similar bombs out of handmade black powder and toilet roll tubes. To the best of my recall, I was not influenced by Chechen or other religio-political groups, but maybe proximity to the Knights of Columbus made me do it.

  3. rudderpedals says:

    The mayor’s quoted in the 5th paragraph from the end of this story stating that a pipe bomber was arrested around this same time

  4. CSK says:


    Menino might be mistaken about the arrest of a pipe bomber; the spokeswoman for the BPD said only that an explosive device had been found near Charlesgate, but not that anyone had been arrested. (The other news reports say the same thing.) To cut Menino some slack, he’s recovering from very recent surgery for a broken leg and has a number of other ailments. He can barely talk, given that he’s probably up to the eyeballs in painkillers.

  5. matt says:

    @John Burgess: Blowing up toilet paper was good fun in my youth.

    I would be surprised if this was actual tests. People already know what materials will explode so only one test would be required for that and for the electronics nothing would have to be blown up. So at most you’re looking at maybe two bomb tests required for someone who is inexperienced.

  6. Gromitt Gunn says:

    This speculation shows a lack of understanding of Massachusetts geography and population density/traffic patterns. Hanover really isn’t halfway between Boston and Dartmouth. It is off of Rt. 3, while you take either 95 or 24 to get to Dartmouth.

    In reality, Hanover is completely out of the way of *anywhere,* unless you’re heading to Plymouth or Cape Cod. This theory is nonsensical.

  7. matt says:

    I think it’s some kids or someone having fun exploding shit in an out of the way area. Usually that kind of activity would fly under the radar but people are hyper vigilant right now.